Thursday, 7 February 2019

Book #13

To Be Read at Dusk by Charles Dickens

Three ghostly tales from a master of the form, 'The Signalman', 'The Trial for Murder' and the title story, 'To Be Read at Dusk'.

This was a joy. Although, what else can one really expect from Dickens?

Anyone who’s had the pleasure to read A Christmas Carol can appreciate the mastery Dickens applies to a ghost story. Penguin have included three of his haunting short stories in this addition to the Little Black Classics range. And, since I’ve been growing increasingly disinterested in the range itself, I was very glad they did.

Although none of the three can be described as terrifying, there are underlying tones of tension and unease throughout all of the stories. Dickens knows how to unsettle, how to perfectly add feelings of the unnatural, and how to expertly garner engagement. I’d never thought to seek out any shorter works of Dickens, but after writing this, seeking out more (ghostly or otherwise) is the first thing I’ll do.

I couldn’t pick a favourite of these three; his skill permeated each of them in equal measures. His stiff upper lipped protagonists being faced with the inexplicable was just completely gorgeous, and his writing, as ever, was completely flawless.

An utter master of fiction, and my one true love. Happy birthday, baby.

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